Art, Animation & Film Analysis by James Chiang

James Chiang's Weekly Blog for Creative Insight & Inspiration

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In a gentle way, you can shake the universe. — Mahatma Gandhi Without energy we can do nothing, but with enough of it we can change ourselves and thereby change the world. And all good art contains an energy that does that, igniting our passions, our memories and our imaginations. For me, great painters like… Continue reading →

Forward Motion

The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new. — Socrates, Philosopher In animation, forward motion is everything. Both in pose and action the audience must get a sense of life in our characters because living things are always progressing, always advancing forward.… Continue reading →

Going Pro

The amateur tweets, the pro works. — Steven Pressfield If you’ve not read Steven Pressfield’s two excellent books on creating, The War of Art and Turning Pro, I highly suggest you do so. Pressfield captures perfectly what it means to go pro. Whenever I feel like I need a little ‘pick up’ I know he’ll… Continue reading →

Women in Art: Part 2 — film roles

In our continuing series about Women in Art, we’re focusing on the roles women have taken in the art of film. Since time began, women’s roles in movies were almost always secondary — a love interest, the damsel in distress waiting to be rescued or slightly more interesting, the alluring femme fatale. Much like how… Continue reading →

Overcoming Pessimism

Every man takes the limits of his own field of vision for the limits of the world. —  Arthur Schopenhauer, Philosopher Fear is shadow, not substance. Unfortunately every man, woman or child out there is commonly living with fear, either consciously or unconsciously. Our consumption-based economy (and its accompanying marketing machine) practically relies...

Doodles in motion

The way to use reference is to learn so much about it that you don’t have to use the reference anymore. — Milt Kahl, Animator I agree wholeheartedly with Kahl’s statement. Exploration is one of the keys to thorough preparation in doing any craft. We must do the research so that we can be imaginative.… Continue reading →

Favorite Films: Part 11 – About Art & Artists

There have been many attempts by the film industry to make movies about artists and their art. Many of them are boring or preaching. Most lack the impact and inspirational power of the craft or the artists profiled. Almost all but a few have failed. Case in point, Jacques Rivette’s exceptionally slow but much revered… Continue reading →

Art, Craft & Technology

“If the technical innovation of the impressionists led merely to a more accurate representation of nature, it was perhaps of not much value in enlarging their powers of expression.” — Edward Hopper, Artist As cited before, I love technology. It can and has been a miracle. Adventures in science have led to great advances in … Continue reading Art, Craft...


“Tradition is not solely, or even primarily, the maintenance of certain dogmatic beliefs; these beliefs have come to take their living form in the course of the formation of a tradition. What I mean by tradition involves all those habitual actions, habits and customs, from the most significant religious rite to our conventional way of … Continue reading...


In animation, we often say spacing is timing. Well, that’s not exactly true or complete, but spacing is a key component of any movement (along with time and path of action). When done wrong, spacing seems non-existent or an afterthought leading to flat work that’s both weightless and unconvincing. When done right, spacing gives action … Continue reading...

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